Pull That Pork…I Dare You…!!!

Smoky Pulled Pork and Slaw

This would be my last meal here on Earth and my first meal when I got to where I was going in the afterlife! (you and I both know where that’s gonna be…right?!?!)

I don’t even want to bother with a story.

My love for Pork is a prodigious one. Homer Simpson once said “Pork and Bacon – my 2 favourite animals” – or something along those lines and he spoketh the truth. We have a lot in common, Homer and I, when it comes to Pork. But our biggest similarity is the tongue hanging drool fest when just even thinking about it.

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I followed a recipe I found quite a while ago on SBS Food and I will post the link to that page so you can have it too. I do like this recipe but like everything I do in life I added more spice and more smokiness just because it’s in my nature to be spicier and smokier…

smokey bbq spice rub - rub it all over baby!

smokey bbq spice rub – rub it all over baby!

 

 

Pulled and sticky in its smokey bbq sauce!

Pulled and sticky in its smokey bbq sauce!

 

 

Plated up with crackling on the side...perfect Sunday.

Plated up with crackling on the side…perfect Sunday.

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/17728/Smoky_pulled_pork_and_slaw

Sorry if I Almost Killed You!

This post is a short note and link back to the following post:

https://pantryobsession.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/another-winery-and-more-cooking/

I’ve made adjustments to the chocolate salted caramel cake. I did realise that there was a lot of salt listed in the recipe but I did not end up following it – I should’ve actually mentioned the adjustments I made whilst baking this cake and for that I humbly apologise – if you are unable to read this because you are no longer with us after having followed the recipe and keeled over and died – oops, sorry about that chief!

Not being a natural at baking I usually follow the recipes very carefully but I’m so glad that I misread this recipe in parts and use unsalted butter and made a decision to add less salt in the cake and replace the creme fraiche with buttermilk – the cake was delicious.

A friend made the cake following the recipe and had to throw it out as it was way too salty – even though she said the cake tasted good, she almost killed a colleague who was very polite and kept eating!

Adjustments have been made and I will be baking this again to make sure it turns out just as good second time round!

Cheers 🙂

That Looks Yucky…!!!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (with broccoli, pesto and stilton cheese)

When I posted this on my fb food page last night, some woman I don’t even know commented that the soup “looked yucky!” – So, I would like to thank her for assisting me in naming this post but I would also like for her to categorically go and drop on her head somewhere – Oh! I’m being unusually polite! – she should just piss off – get off my food page and although I understand that you can’t fix stupid, surely she could do something about her severe case of butt ugly!!!

Anyhoo…some things don’t photograph well (like this woman) -I mean,  like this soup – but taste amazing (unlike this woman) – I mean, like this soup. This soup was greenish in colour due to the broccoli and pesto and tasted amazing – very creamy and rich and certainly not for those wishing to lose any weight in a hurry. It was incredibly filling and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I have been making a few different types of soup lately and had it stuck in my head that I wanted a soup with gnocchi in it. I googled a few and wasn’t quite happy with any one particular recipe so I combined a few and made the rest up as I went along. Certainly different and my family lapped it up – loved it!

So here’s my yucky looking soup – actually the photo makes the soup look greener than it actually was but anyhow I don’t care – really impressed with myself here – so faaaaarrrrrkkkkk you ugly lady…

Not all pretty things are wonderful...

Not all pretty things are wonderful…

 

Ingredients

  •  skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup plain  flour
  • 3-1/2 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock granules, like vegeta.
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 packet gnocchi (or you could make your own but I didn’t)
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 2 teaspoons pesto (home made is better but you could use a good quality bought one)
  • as much or as little Stilton Cheese as you like

Method

  • In a saucepan, brown chicken in 2 tablespoons butter. Remove and keep warm. In the same pan, saute the onion,  and garlic in remaining butter until tender.
  • Whisk in flour until blended; gradually stir in the milk, cream, stock granules and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese.
  • Meanwhile cook gnocchi in another pot and add to the creamy soup. Cut broccolini into small pieces and steam (the stem and shred the head, if that makes sense – I wanted flecks of broccolini not chunks); and then add to the soup along with the pesto. Add the chicken. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through (do not boil). 
  • Maybe it was the buttered bread I kept dunking into this that made me so full…OMG – It was good!!!

Spice up your Life!

Spicy red lentil soup

La La La La La La La La La
La La La La La La La
La La La La La La La La La
La La La La La La LaWhen You’re Feelin’ Sad And Low
We Will Take You Where You Gotta Go
Smiling Dancing Everything Is Free
All You Need Is Positivity

Colours Of The World
Spice Up Your Life
Every Boy And Every Girl
Spice Up Your Life
People Of The World
Spice Up Your Life
Aahh 

Slam Me To The Left
If You’re Havin’ A Good Time
Shake It To The Right
If You Know That You Feel Fine
Chicas To The Front
Huh Huh And Go Round

Slam Me To The Left
If You’re Havin’ A Good Time
Shake It To The Right
If You Know That You Feel Fine
Chicas To The Front
Huh Huh
Hi Ci Ja Hold Tight

La La La La La La La La La…
I don’t really believe when The Spice Girls sang this song they were singing about red lentils but I don’t care, so I included it…

I also never liked The Spice Girls but I’m totally in love with this soup!
 
 I love lentils! My mum makes the most delish lentil soup and she loves the fact that all her grandchildren love it too! My daughter can’t get enough of it. My mum, however, never uses red lentils. But I do! I use them with lamb shanks and mostly in stews/casseroles.

Some nights I have very strange dreams – I dream that I’m eating a certain food/meal and when I wake up I’m obsessed with this food until I get around to making it. We were having a conversation at work on Monday about using red lentils in a soup – in fact I think my friend was having some for lunch that day. That night I dreamt about red lentil soup – yeah, I know – kinky!  The urge to make red lentil soup for dinner that night was overwhelming.

I’m having left over red lentil soup today for lunch – cannot wait – this stuff is good so go on – Spice up your Life! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 – 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1- 2 green chillies  (optional for you and a must for me)
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • coriander

Method

  1. Pour vegetable stock and water into a pot and set aside.
  2. Peel and grate ginger and set aside.
  3. Chop onion, garlic, red capsicum, and tomatoes, saute on medium heat in a pot, with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add ginger and chili. When vegetables are soft, add 2 cups stock/water mixture to the pot and bring to the boil then add the lentils. Add the spices (except salt) and the rest of the stock and simmer until lentils are tender and soup has thickened. (around 25 mins)
  4.  Turn down to low heat and allow the flavours to develop for a further 10 mins. At the end of the cooking time, add salt.
  5. Use a stick blender to puree the soup or you can use a stand blender.
  6. Remove from heat and garnish with paprika and coriander and serve with a huge chunk of great bread with loads of butter! That’s what I did!
Amazing colour! I just wanted to stare at it all night!

Amazing colour! I just wanted to stare at it all night!

Another Winery and More Cooking!

Simple food and Super Cake!

Well, my Mr. Handsome and I have been together for 5 years and to celebrate I went on a day trip to visit more wineries with my girlie friends!

Strange anniversary celebration I hear you say! Not so strange in my house I say! Mr. Handsome benefits from what I bring home from these day trips and our own private celebration kicks off from there.

I bought this enamel pot because I loved it so much and you buy these things when you head out to the country!

I bought this enamel pot because I loved it so much and you buy these things when you head out to the country!

Wine and great goat’s cheese followed up by a visit to the best bakery in town for the best bread I have ever had and a jar of home made decadent salted caramel sauce from the best cake shop in the world. Add to this some great organic local produce – red capsicum, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms…and I nearly forgot to mention that a shipment of olive oil (from my dad’s olive groves) just came in from Greece and, I ask you, what’s not to love about celebrating being with me for 5 years!!!

I chargrilled those vegetables and poured some of that awesome olive oil over the top and added lots of finely sliced garlic. Covered it with foil and let it sit for a couple of hours – sliced up the best bread in the world and dunked it into some olive oil and piled the veg and totally tasty goat’s cheese onto that bread and ate like wild animals!

Drank lots of wine too!

I also baked a cake – baking does not come naturally to me – I have to measure and be careful but I have been teaching myself over the last year and have been mostly successful. This cake has to be the best cake I have ever made! Rich, dark and moist (no, don’t go there!!!) filled with that awesome salted caramel and topped with chocolate ganache. It was to die for and really, if I keep eating it, it will surely kill me!

I took the photo while it was all still really gooey but I did smooth out the ganache and it set beautifully. I had some with coffee for breakfast this morning! Cake for breakfast is the biz!

The recipe I am posting is for the cake and I have included the salted caramel in case you wanted to make it yourself.

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 150ml milk
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

For the caramel

  • 450g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 115g salted butter
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche

For the chocolate ganache

  • 225g plain chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
  • 250ml double cream

Method

First, make the caramel. Pour 100ml water into a large saucepan. Add the sugar and golden syrup, gently cook until melted, then turn up the heat a bit and cook until the caramel is a dark goldenbrown colour. Swirl the pan occasionally to prevent sticking but do not stir. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the butter, double cream and crème fraîche – it will bubble up quite high. Whisk until smooth, then leave to cool until slightly set. You can make this up to 3 days in advance and chill in the fridge – just gently reheat until soft enough to spread before assembling the cake.

Now make the cake. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Melt the chocolate, butter and milk in a large pan over a low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then beat in the sugar and vanilla. Cool slightly. Beat the egg yolks and buttermilk together, then mix this into the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir a third of the egg whites into the cake mix, then gently fold in the rest along with the sea salt. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 mins until firm to touch. Leave to cool for 20 mins, then remove from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

For the ganache, heat the chocolate and cream together over a low heat until the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl to cool.

To assemble, slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Sandwich together with some of your caramel – you may not need it all, but be generous in order to balance the bittersweet ganache topping. Spread the ganache over the top of the cake…die happy!

Love this type of food!

Love this type of food!

Gooey and decadent!

Gooey and decadent!

Ganache set perfectly - cake awesome with coffee!

Ganache set perfectly – cake awesome with coffee!

Cooking for the Two of Us!

Salt & Pepper Squid

So, when my daughter tells me she is staying over at her boy friend’s house I do two things:  #1 try not to think about it and #2 take comfort in food and alcohol.

I’ve written before about how she will devour crumbed calamari rings, (but only if I make them) but dish up salt and pepper squid to her and she’d rather stick forks in her eyes than eat.

I made this on Saturday night, drank a nice bottle of bubbly and danced around the living room to the strains of  Van Halen!

Bubbly will make me do that!

Ingredients

Five-spice mix

1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp celery powder
1 tbsp chicken stock powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp five-spice powder

Squid
500 g fresh whole squid
2 tbsp self-raising flour
peanut oil
cornflour
4 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
½ tbsp rice wine

Method

Combine the ingredients for the five-spice mix and set aside.

Clean the squid by pulling the tentacles from the body. Wash out the tube and remove the clear ‘backbone’. Peel off the skin if you like. Cut the tentacles from the head and discard the head. Cut the tube into triangles, which helps the squid to curl during cooking. You can score the triangle pieces if you like. I did this time but don’t always.

In a bowl, mix the self-raising flour with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and a little water to make a paste. Add the squid pieces and tentacles and coat well. Sprinkle and toss with enough cornflour until the pieces are dry.

Heat enough peanut oil in a wok for deep-frying. Add the squid in batches and cook until golden and crisp. Remove with a  slotted spoon. When all the squid is cooked, drain most of the oil from the wok.

Add the spring onions, garlic and chilli to the wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the squid to the wok, add 2–3 teaspoons of five-spice mix and toss well. Add the rice wine, toss and serve immediately.

I served the squid with stir fry veggies consisting of corn, red capsicum, onion, snow peas as well as coconut rice with thai basil and coriander.

loving the colours!

loving the colours!

Too good!
Too good!

Winning combination!

Winning combination!

 

Soup Season

Chicken. Chorizo and Rice Soup.

I came home from work one night last week and hadn’t even thought about dinner. My mind was too fixated on the fact that I had three days until term break.

Accidents happen. Most of the time accidents are an unwelcome part of our lives; making a bad day worse or a great day unbearable. Accidents in the kitchen could mean smashing a glass lasagne tray brimming with creamy, cheesy lasagne, against the kitchen bench as you are about the serve your dinner guests and then having to get take away or it could mean almost losing your fingers while trying to chop onions like Jamie Oliver when clearly you are not Jamie Oliver but just a plain ol girl who has almost lost her fingers!

I don’t like these type of accidents!

The kind of accidents in the kitchen I like best are when I set out to make something and accidentally add the wrong ingredient and it turns out so good that I have to write it down lest I forget what I did.

Such was the case when I made this soup. Chicken noodle soup was what I set out to make but accidentally added rice instead of noodles (an easy mistake I’m sure you’d agree as they look sooooo similar!). Of course this changed the whole game plan so chorizo and carrot were added to compliment the rest of the ingredients – and it worked – and it was so good I’m making it again next week.

Ingredients

2 – 3 smallish chicken fillets, left whole

1 1/2 cups rice

Chorizo, cut on the diagonal

1 onion, sliced

1 leek, sliced into strips

2 carrots, cut on the diagonal

1 spring onion for garnish

parsley, chopped for garnish (or coriander)

Stock Ingredients

1 litre chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1/4 cup shaoxing wine

1 tblspn soy sauce

splash of fish sauce

splash of sesame oil

Method

Combine all stock ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and add whole chicken fillets. Simmer gently for 20 – 30 mins. Remove chicken fillets and keep warm.

Increase heat and bring stock to the boil again. Add rice, chorizo and vegetables. Simmer until all ingredients are cooked (10 – 15 mins).

Slice chicken so you have nice roundish discs (not strips or chunks). Place sliced chicken at the bottom of your soup bowl and splash a little more sesame oil over the chicken.

Ladle soup over the chicken and top with sliced spring onions and chopped parsley or coriander. I used parsley because I didn’t have any coriander left.

Lovely!

Lovely!

An Ode to Game of Thrones, True Blood and Teaching!

Food I’ve cooked in my real life whilst I took a leave of absence from my virtual one.

Term 2 is a bastard!

Not like the bastard John Snow from “Game of Thrones” but like a good for nothing no redeeming features type of psychopath! A psychopath if you will – like Joffrey – that’s what Term 2 in a high school is!

We all approach the end of Term 1 with the foreboding sense of the horror to come. The light heart which Summer had given us becomes heavy with sadness and melancholy – in the words of The Starks – “Winter is Coming!”… and so was Term 2!

It bares its fangs and bites you hard. Not like Eric Northman from True Blood does to me in my dreams every night but more like Russell Edgington, ripping at your throat, draining your blood and tearing out your heart in the end, in front of a crowd!

School in full swing – assignments, Government literacy and Numeracy tests, corrections, presentations, meetings, more corrections, exams, more corrections, more meetings, report writing, proof reading and more meetings and corrections and the term is over and you are spent!

It’s safe to say I have been more than tired. Exhausted in fact. My neck and shoulders ache and my eyes hurt. But, now for 2 weeks of wonderful holidays. Sufficed it to say these next 2 weeks will be the best 2 weeks of my life!

I cooked and I forgot to photograph but sometimes I remembered, so here are the photos of what I cooked whilst I took another break from blogland!

I’m at this stage unable to post recipes, such is the level of my exhaustion, but please take a moment to view the photos and be comforted by the fact that food was where I sought solace over the last eleven weeks…and food is our saviour  if you don’t know that then “you know nothin John Snow!”

Enjoy!

chicken and leek pie

chicken and leek pie

Because you have to see what it looked like on the inside!

Because you have to see what it looked like on the inside!

French onion Soup - because my parents bought a 5 kilo bag of onions!

French onion Soup – because my parents bought a 5 kilo bag of onions!

Lasagne.

Lasagne.

I like my lasagne creamy!

I like my lasagne creamy!

Potato and Leek Soup - Winter warmer!

Potato and Leek Soup – Winter warmer!

Chicken, Chorizo and Rice Soup - just the best!

Chicken, Chorizo and Rice Soup – just the best!

Roast Potatoes, Beef with red wine and a spicy mustard - too good!

Roast Potatoes, Beef with red wine and a spicy mustard – too good!

Stir Fry Veggies - such great colours!

Stir Fry Veggies – such great colours!

Salt and Pepper Squid - tasty and tender!

Salt and Pepper Squid – tasty and tender!

Altogether - stir fry veggies, salt and pepper squid and coconut rice - my favourite!

Altogether – stir fry veggies, salt and pepper squid and coconut rice – my favourite!